Launching a Digital Transformation Initiative: Put People First

Why do so many organizations struggle to break the inertia of embracing a digital first strategy?

When we look at the challenges in study after study, and in my boots on the ground experience with client after client, the most constant challenges in DX initiatives are people issues.

In my military experience, I commanded troops at one level or another for 15 years, and there is a common phrase taught to all commanders.  There are no bad units, there are only bad commanders. While this phrase has the folksy style of a salty recruit, there is a bit of truth to it. When applying this to business, it’s not the people that are the challenge, it’s the right leadership, leaders who communicate the vision, who resource DX, who clear the blockers, who encourage change, and who can keep wall street at bay while the organization pivots and learns.

That’s why I love this product from Underwood, the first major typewriter company founded in 1895. If you were the CEO of an outdated product from a 125 year old company, how would you evolve to keep your offerings relevant?

This Underwood typewriter is an actual product –it’s a USB typewriter and costs $1,300. Many look at this product and say it was built for those who are resistant to change. Others look at it and say it was built to embrace change and provide an experience that merges the old with the new. So what this product illustrates is that NOT ONLY do we need to integrate legacy technology (say a typewriter) with newer technology (say mobile computing), but we also need to integrate revered habits with newer practices. Innovation is often best realized by combining two existing things to make something new. It’s about finding New ways to deliver New Answers. So let’s see how organizations are doing it.

While it may seem like the biggest challenges involved with launching a digital transformation revolve around new technologies, this usually isn’t the case. Breaking the inertia around digital transformation usually involves:

  • breaking departmental silos within organizations
  • building consensus within multidisciplinary teams
  • finding sources of funding
  • thinking big vs. small project based
  • embracing failure
  • effective leadership

All of these issues revolve around people and company culture, not technology.

When beginning your digital transformation, it’s critical to keep the end goal in mind.

Start by documenting and digitizing the way you do business today. Leverage the good things that are happening with business as usual. Then build additional business models from there. Align Key Business Objectives (KBOs) so that your Key Business Indicators (KPIs) naturally flow from the KBOs. If you weren’t doing so already, your organization should be making decisions based upon data. There is a cultural shift to adopting a Data Driven Operating Model (DDOM).  [Data Driven Operating Model Propels Adobe’s Digital Business Success]

Digital Transformation is multidisciplinary and interdepartmental. Since it will touch new funding sources, new lines of communication and lines of reporting, it must be sponsored by an engaged leader. If you’re looking for help in breaking the inertia, assembling the right skills, processes, platforms, and performance, leverage a Digital Transformation Maturity Model to accelerate your start off the blocks.

If you are interested in learning more about how to to leverage our Digital Transformation Maturity Model to kick-start your organization’s DX, email info@limaconsulting.com to setup a time to speak with us.

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